A commission exploring the potential of civil society in the UK has called for bold action on the sector by the government, businesses, and funders to help fuel much-needed national recovery and growth.
The Law Family Commission on Civil Society, chaired by former Cabinet Secretary Lord Gus O’Donnell, has proposed a range of policy recommendations and initiatives aimed at unleashing the full potential of the charity sector over the next decade – as the UK grapples with the social and economic consequences of the Covid pandemic and the current cost of living crisis.
The public, private, and social sectors need to be ‘firing on all cylinders’ said the Commission, if the UK’s economy is to recover and grow from the crises it currently faces.
UK’s charities and community groups are ‘a key part of the solution to every challenge we face’, said O’Donnell, who highlighted their responses to recent crises as proof of their importance, arguing they ‘make the difference between people eating or missing meals, being heard or left voiceless, and feeling alone or well-supported’.
The Commission’s report, titled Unleashing the power of civil society, states: ‘It is clear that civil society is integral to achieving both economic and social progress, and it already makes enormous contributions to both. But it is also evident that it could achieve even more.’
The report sets out 26 recommendations, aimed at realising the full potential of the sector, centred around six key themes:
- Building productivity and organisational effectiveness.
- Creating timely, accessible data and robust evidence about the sector.
- Improving the scale, distribution and impact of funding for the sector.
- Bringing businesses and civil society together.
- Strengthening relationships with policymakers.
- Unleashing potential at the local and regional levels.
Included in its recommendations is that the UK Treasury should invest the £380 million that exists in unclaimed Gift Aid into enhancing the productivity of the sector.
The Law Family Commission on Civil Society is a research programme that looks into how the UK can unleash the potential of civil society to harness and enhance community bonds. To read the full report, click here.